Several Polish judges refuse to work alongside colleagues who are involved with the smear campaign against certain members of the judiciary. The Polish Judges Association ‘Iustitia’ provides an update on this current situation. Judges for Judges hereby shares that message.
Deputy Minister of Justice judge Łukasz Piebiak resigned, after it was revealed in media that he had stayed behind an organized hate on judges who do not want to submit to changes in the judiciary introduced by Law and Justice (PiS) political party. Piebiak justified his resignation “with a sense of responsibility for the success of the reforms” he was working on at the ministry.
The resignation of Łukasz Piebiak meant that his delegation to the Ministry of Justice had been withdrawn. Under the procedure, a judge who has been called off the delegation returns to work in the court, where he used to work before. In this case it is the District Court for the capital city of Warsaw. The Judges – members of the Council of Judges at the Regional Court in Warsaw – the superior unit of the District Court – issued a resolution in which they demand the President of the Regional Court to commence a decision to suspend judge Łukasz Piebian in his duty immediately. They explained that they make such a request “due to the kind of deeds attributed to the judge Piebiak in medias, which became the basis for dismissing him from his function as Deputy Minister of Justice, since these, in the College’s opinion the situation requires immediate suspension abovementioned Judge from adjudicating. Łukasz Piebiak stays on vacation leave until November 30, 2019.
It also should be noted, that according to numerous media publications a group of people, including judges, under the leadership of the former Deputy Minister of Justice Łukasz Piebiak was established, Their aim was to conduct an organized, long-term depreciation of other judges, including unlawfully disclosed sensitive data and official document taken from Ministry of Justice or the National Council of the Judiciary, as well as through the dissemination of negative information, manipulated content, libel and gossip.
The National Board of the Polish Judges Association “Iustitia” asked for explanatory action regarding the judges: Łukasz Piebiak, Jakub Iwaniec, Arkadiusz Cichocki, Konrad Wytrykowski, Dariusz Drajewicz, Maciej Mitera, Jarosław Dudzicz, Rafał Stasikowski, Ireneusz Wiliczkiewicz, Maciej Nawacki, Tomasz Szmydt, Przemysław Radzik and Michał Lasota in breach of the dignity of the office of judge in that they acted jointly and in cooperation with each other and undertook actions with other people to harass and discredit the First President of the Supreme Court Małgorzata Gersdorf and many other judges, which grossly violated the principles of professional ethics. It is also worth mentioning, that all those judges communicated within the WhatsApp group named “The Caste” and their careers boosted on the speedy track, after PiS took over the executive and legislative in Poland in 2015 for example judge Konrad Wytrykowski was promoted from a District Court the Supreme Court in no longer than 2 years.
During the hearing at the 10th Criminal Division of the District Court in Warsaw, judge Anna Bator-Ciesielska refused to adjudicate with the judge and disciplinary spokesman Przemysław Radzik in the panel of judges, due to the doubts about the possibility of Radzik’s fulfillment of judicial duties. Judge Przemysław Radzik is also one of the heroes of the organized hate scandal group, whose actions were supported by documents “leaked” from the Ministry of Justice files and the office of the disciplinary ombudsman sitting at the minister. The indispensable attribute of a judge are: impeccable character, impartiality and independence.
Judge Bator – Ciesielska referred to:
- 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights guaranteeing everyone the right to a fair trial before an independent court
- 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland “Public authority bodies operate on the basis and within the limits of the law”, art. 32 (right to equal treatment) and art. 45 (right to a fair trial before an independent court)
- 66 of the Act on the System of Common Courts containing the rotational oath of judges: “I vow (…) uphold the law, obey the duties of a judge diligently, administer justice in accordance with the law, impartially according to my conscience, observe a secret protected by law, and in the proceedings be guided by the principles of dignity and honesty. “
As part of the question referred for a preliminary ruling, Judge Anna Bator – Ciesielska asked the ECJ whether current situation is compatible with EU law:
- delegation of judges to adjudication panels by the Minister of Justice on the basis of his one-man decision, if the criteria of this decision are not clear or unknown and it cannot be appealed to the court, and the Minister may arbitrarily withdraw the delegation at any time.
- the situation that a court decision – issued in a panel where a judge is delegated by the Minister of Justice sits – can only be appealed to the Supreme Court, in which the order of consideration of cases is decided, among others person elected by the new National Council of the Judiciary.
The judge asks if such a ruling of the Supreme Court has any effect under EU law.
The judge wants to know if this is in line with:
- the requirement for effective judicial protection,
- including the independence of the judiciary and
- with requirements arising from the presumption of innocence.
The main disciplinary spokesman Piotr Schab initiated explanatory proceedings against the judge Anna Bator – Ciesielska regarding the manner of proceedings, statements and decisions made by her during the appeal hearing, could constitute her exhaustion of signs of disciplinary offenses.
Judges of the Provincial Administrative Court (WSA) in Warsaw also do not want to rule with another hero of the hatter scandal: judge Tomasz Szmydt. First, the president of the Supreme Administrative Court (NSA) dismissed him from the delegation to the National council of Judiciary administrative office, and then, the president of the Provincial Administrative Court, dismissed him from adjudicating “until the disciplinary court issues a resolution on suspending the judge in official duties, no longer than until 28 September 2019”. The explanatory memorandum states that it is required by “seriousness of the court and essential official interests”. The NSA disciplinary spokesman undertook explanatory proceedings in the case of judge Szmydt and judge of the Supreme Administrative Court Rafał Stasikowski, also mentioned in the context of the hatter affair.
The position on the judges of Radzik and Lasota was adopted by the Board of the Association of Polish Judges “Iustitia”. It states that the deputies of the disciplinary ombudsman “institute and conduct disciplinary proceedings against judges of district and regional courts without exceeding their statutory rights”. In the statement, IUSTITIA submits to judges who are subject to proceedings conducted by disciplinary spokesman Piotr Schab or his deputies, “that they refuse to participate in their proceedings at least until the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the status of the National Council of Judiciary and the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court and until the participation of Przemysław W. Radzik and Michał Lasota in the organized hate action against judges conducted within the Caste group is clarified”.